External Affairs

Dear Aung San Suu Kyi…

Surely now is a time for a word on the plight of the Rohingya people.

Aung San Suu Kyi. Credit: Reuters

Aung San Suu Kyi. Credit: Reuters

Dhaka: When you were finally able to accept your Nobel Peace Prize, you spoke eloquently of the ultimate aim of a world in which “every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabits will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace.”

And you noted that “every thought, every word, and every action” that adds to this desire is a contribution to peace.

Surely now is a time for a word on the plight of the Rohingya people in western Myanmar who the United Nations has described as one of the world’s most persecuted people.

So far, you have warned against “fake information” and “terrorists”. We have not, however, heard a word of support or even comfort for the people that, as amply documented by international organisations and media, are subject to a campaign leading to death, widespread suffering and desperate escapes over the border.

The 1991 Nobel Prize was given to honor your heroic and unflagging efforts for peace and prosperity in your country and, let’s remember, to support efforts to achieve “ethnic conciliation by peaceful means”.

You have mentioned that there is violence instigated on “both sides”. There may be some truth in that statement, but – it appears entirely lacking in a sense of scale and proportion.

We are aware you do not have uncontested power in Myanmar to order a new approach to peace in Rakhine state. However, a humanitarian catastrophe requires setting politics aside.

As you yourself noted, thoughts and words can make a difference. Please let yours be known.

Farhana Haque Rahman is director general of the Inter Press Service.

(IPS)